California Bail Laws
PENAL CODE – SECTION 1268-1276.5
1268. Admission to bail is the order of a competent Court or magistrate that the defendant be discharged from actual custody upon bail.
The taking of bail consists in the acceptance, by a competent court or magistrate, of the undertaking of sufficient bail for the appearance of the defendant, according to the terms of the undertaking, or that the bail will pay to the people of this state a specified sum. Upon filing, the clerk shall enter in the register of actions the date and amounts of such bond and the name or names of the surety or sureties thereon. In the event of the loss or destruction of such bond, such entries so made shall be prima facie evidence of the due execution of such bond as required by law. Whenever any bail bond has been deposited in any criminal action or proceeding in a municipal or superior court or in any proceeding in habeas corpus in a superior court, and it is made to appear to the satisfaction of the court by affidavit or by testimony in open court that more than three years have elapsed since the exoneration or release of said bail, the court must direct that such bond be destroyed.
Except as otherwise provided by law, no defendant charged in a warrant of arrest with any public offense shall be discharged from custody upon bail except upon a written order of a competent court or magistrate admitting the defendant to bail in the amount specified in the indorsement referred to in Section 815a, and where an undertaking is furnished, upon a written order of such court or magistrate approving the undertaking. All such orders must be signed by such court or magistrate and delivered to the officer having custody of the defendant before the defendant is released. Any officer releasing any defendant upon bail otherwise than as herein provided shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(a) The officer in charge of a jail where an arrested person is held in custody, an officer of a sheriff’s department or police department of a city who is in charge of a jail or is employed at a fixed police or sheriff’s facility and is acting under an agreement with the agency that keeps the jail wherein an arrested person is held in custody, an employee of a sheriff’s department or police department of a city who is assigned by the department to collect bail, the clerk of the municipal court of the judicial district in which the offense was alleged to have been committed, and the clerk of the superior court in which the case against the defendant is pending may approve and accept bail in the amount fixed by the warrant of arrest, schedule of bail, or order admitting to bail in cash or surety bond executed by a certified, admitted surety insurer as provided in the Insurance Code, to issue and sign an order for the release of the arrested person, and to set a time and place for the appearance of the arrested person before the appropriate court and give notice thereof.
(b)If a defendant has appeared before a judge of the court on the charge contained in the complaint, indictment, or information, the bail shall be in the amount fixed by the judge at the time of the appearance; if that appearance has not been made, the bail shall be in the amount fixed in the warrant of arrest or, if no warrant of arrest has been issued, the amount of bail shall be pursuant to the uniform countywide schedule of bail for the county in which the defendant is required to appear, previously fixed and approved as provided in subdivisions (c) and (d).
(c)c) It is the duty of the superior and municipal court judges in each county to prepare, adopt, and annually revise, by a majority vote, at a meeting called by the presiding judge of the superior court of the county, a uniform countywide schedule of bail for all bailable felony offenses. In adopting a uniform countywide schedule of bail for all bailable offenses the judges shall consider the seriousness of the offense charged. In considering the seriousness of the offense charged the judges shall assign an additional amount of required bail for each aggravating or enhancing factor chargeable in the complaint, including, but not limited to, additional bail for charges alleging facts that would bring a person within any of the following sections: Section 667.5, 667.51, 667.6, 667.8, 667.85, 667.9, 667.10, 12022, 12022.1, 12022.2, 12022.3, 12022.4, 12022.5, 12022.53, 12022.6, 12022.7, 12022.8, or 12022.9, or Section 11356.5, 11370.2, or 11370.4 of the Health and Safety Code. In considering offenses wherein a violation of Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 11350) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code is alleged, the judge shall assign an additional amount of required bail for offenses involving large quantities of controlled substances.
(d) The municipal court judges in each county, at a meeting called by the presiding judge of the municipal court at each county seat, or the superior court judges in each county in which there is no municipal court, at a meeting called by the presiding judge of the superior court, shall prepare, adopt, and annually revise, by a majority vote, a uniform, countywide schedule of bail for all misdemeanor and infraction offenses except Vehicle Code infractions. The penalty schedule for infraction violations of the Vehicle Code shall be established by the Judicial Council in accordance with Section 40310 of the Vehicle Code.
(e) Each countywide bail schedule shall contain a list of the offenses and the amounts of bail applicable thereto as the judges determine to be appropriate. If the schedules do not list all offenses specifically, they shall contain a general clause for designated amounts of bail as the judges of the county determine to be appropriate for all the offenses not specifically listed in the schedules. A copy of the countywide bail schedule shall be sent to the officer in charge of the county jail, to the officer in charge of each city jail within the county, to each superior and municipal court judge and commissioner in the county, and to the Judicial Council.
(f) Upon posting bail, the defendant or arrested person shall be discharged from custody as to the offense on which the bail is posted. All money and surety bonds so deposited with an officer authorized to receive bail shall be transmitted immediately to the judge or clerk of the court by which the order was made or warrant issued or bail schedule fixed. If, in the case of felonies, an indictment is filed, the judge or clerk of the court shall transmit all of the money and surety bonds to the county clerk.
(g) If a defendant or arrested person so released fails to appear at the time and in the court so ordered upon his or her release from custody, Sections 1305 and 1306 apply.
(a) If a defendant is arrested without a warrant for a bailable felony offense or for the misdemeanor offense of violating a domestic violence restraining order, and a peace officer has reasonable cause to believe that the amount of bail set forth in the schedule of bail for that offense is insufficient to assure defendant’s appearance or to assure the protection of a victim, or family member of a victim, of domestic violence, the peace officer shall prepare a declaration under penalty of perjury setting forth the facts and circumstances in support of his or her belief and file it with a magistrate, as defined in Section 808, or his or her commissioner, in the county in which the offense is alleged to have been committed or having personal jurisdiction over the defendant, requesting an order setting a higher bail. The defendant, either personally or through his or her attorney, friend, or family member, also may make application to the magistrate for release on bail lower than that provided in the schedule of bail or on his or her own recognizance. The magistrate or commissioner to whom the application is made is authorized to set bail in an amount that he or she deems sufficient to assure the defendant’s appearance or to assure the protection of a victim, or family member of a victim, of domestic violence, and to set bail on the terms and conditions that he or she, in his or her discretion, deems appropriate, or he or she may authorize the defendant’s release on his or her own recognizance. If, after the application is made, no order changing the amount of bail is issued within eight hours after booking, the defendant shall be entitled to be released on posting the amount of bail set forth in the applicable bail schedule.
(a) Any person who has been arrested for, or charged with, an offense other than a capital offense may be released on his or her own recognizance by a court or magistrate who could release a defendant from custody upon the defendant giving bail, including a defendant arrested upon an out-of-county warrant. A defendant who is in custody and is arraigned on a complaint alleging an offense which is a misdemeanor, and a defendant who appears before a court or magistrate upon an out-of-county warrant arising out of a case involving only misdemeanors, shall be entitled to an own recognizance release unless the court makes a finding on the record, in accordance with Section 1275, that an own recognizance release will compromise public safety or will not reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required. Public safety shall be the primary consideration. If the court makes one of those findings, the court shall then set bail and specify the conditions, if any, whereunder the defendant shall be released.
(b) Article 9 (commencing with Section 1318) shall apply to any person who is released pursuant to this section. 1270.1. (a) Before any person who is arrested for any of the following crimes may be released on bail in an amount that is either more or less than the amount contained in the schedule of bail for the offense, or may be released on his or her own recognizance, a hearing shall be held in open court before the magistrate or judge: (1) A serious felony, as defined in subdivision.
(c) Of Section 1192.7, or a violent felony, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5, but not including a violation of subdivision (a) of Section 460 (residential burglary). (2) A violation of Section 136.1 where punishment is imposed pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 136.1, 262, 273.5, 422 where the offense is punished as a felony, or 646.9. (3) A violation of paragraph (1) of subdivision (e) of Section 243. (b) The prosecuting attorney and defense attorney shall be given a two court-day written notice and an opportunity to be heard on the matter. If the detained person does not have counsel, the court shall appoint counsel for purposes of this section only. The hearing required by this section shall be held within the time period prescribed in Section 825. (c) At the hearing, the court shall consider evidence of past court appearances of the detained person, the maximum potential sentence that could be imposed, and the danger that may be posed to other persons if the detained person is released. In making the determination whether to release the detained person on his or her own recognizance, the court shall consider the potential danger to other persons, including threats that have been made by the detained person and any past acts of violence. The court shall also consider any evidence offered by the detained person regarding his or her ties to the community and his or her ability to post bond. (d) If the judge or magistrate sets the bail in an amount that is either more or less than the amount contained in the schedule of bail for the offense, the judge or magistrate shall state the reasons for that decision and shall address the issue of threats made against the victim or witness, if they were made, in the record. This statement shall be included in the record.
(c) When a person is detained in custody on a criminal charge prior to conviction for want of bail, that person is entitled to an automatic review of the order fixing the amount of the bail by the judge or magistrate having jurisdiction of the offense. That review shall be held not later than five days from the time of the original order fixing the amount of bail on the original accusatory pleading. The defendant may waive this review.
(c) A defendant charged with an offense punishable with death cannot be admitted to bail, when the proof of his or her guilt is evident or the presumption thereof great. The finding of an indictment does not add to the strength of the proof or the presumptions to be drawn therefrom.
(c) If the charge is for any other offense, he may be admitted to bail before conviction, as a matter of right.
(c) After conviction of an offense not punishable with death, a defendant who has made application for probation or who has appealed may be admitted to bail: 1. As a matter of right, before judgment is pronounced pending application for probation in cases of misdemeanors, or when the appeal is from a judgment imposing a fine only. 2. As a matter of right, before judgment is pronounced pending application for probation in cases of misdemeanors, or when the appeal is from a judgment imposing imprisonment in cases of misdemeanors. 3. As a matter of discretion in all other cases, except that a person convicted of an offense subject to this subdivision, who makes a motion for release on bail subsequent to a sentencing hearing, shall provide notice of the hearing on the bail motion to the prosecuting attorney at least five court days prior to the hearing.
(c) Release on bail pending appeal under subdivision (3) of Section 1272 shall be ordered by the court if the defendant demonstrates all the following: (a) By clear and convincing evidence, the defendant is not likely to flee. Under this subdivision the court shall consider the following criteria: (1) The ties of the defendant to the community, including his or her employment, the duration of his or her residence, the defendant’s family attachments and his or her property holdings. (2) The defendant’s record of appearance at past court hearings or of flight to avoid prosecution. (3) The severity of the sentence the defendant faces. (b) By clear and convincing evidence, the defendant does not pose a danger to the safety of any other person or to the community. Under this subdivision the court shall consider, among other factors, whether the crime for which the defendant was convicted is a violent felony, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5. (c) The appeal is not for the purpose of delay and, based upon the record in the case, raises a substantial legal question which, if decided in favor of the defendant, is likely to result in reversal. For purposes of this subdivision, a “substantial legal question” means a close question, one of more substance than would be necessary to a finding that it was not frivolous. In assessing whether a substantial legal question has been raised on appeal by the defendant, the court shall not be required to determine whether it committed error. In making its decision on whether to grant defendants’ motions for bail under subdivision (3) of Section 1272, the court shall include a brief statement of reasons in support of an order granting or denying a motion for bail on appeal. The statement need only include the basis for the order with sufficient specificity to permit meaningful review.
(c) If the offense is bailable, the defendant may be admitted to bail before conviction: First–For his appearance before the magistrate, on the examination of the charge, before being held to answer. Second–To appear at the Court to which the magistrate is required to return the depositions and statement, upon the defendant being held to answer after examination. Third–After indictment, either before the bench warrant is issued for his arrest, or upon any order of the Court committing him, or enlarging the amount of bail, or upon his being surrendered by his bail to answer the indictment in the Court in which it is found, or to which it may be transferred for trial. And after conviction, and upon an appeal: First–If the appeal is from a judgment imposing a fine only, on the undertaking of bail that he will pay the same, or such part of it as the appellate Court may direct, if the judgment is affirmed or modified, or the appeal is dismissed. Second–If judgment of imprisonment has been given, that he will surrender himself in execution of the judgment, upon its being affirmed or modified, or upon the appeal being dismissed, or that in case the judgment be reversed, and that the cause be remanded for a new trial, that he will appear in the Court to which said cause may be remanded, and submit himself to the orders and process thereof.
(c) When the admission to bail is a matter of discretion, the Court or officer to whom the application is made must require reasonable notice thereof to be given to the District Attorney of the county.
(a) In setting, reducing, or denying bail, the judge or magistrate shall take into consideration the protection of the public, the seriousness of the offense charged, the previous criminal record of the defendant, and the probability of his or her appearing at trial or hearing of the case. The public safety shall be the primary consideration. In considering the seriousness of the offense charged, the judge or magistrate shall include consideration of the alleged injury to the victim, and alleged threats to the victim or a witness to the crime charged, the alleged use of a firearm or other deadly weapon in the commission of the crime charged, and the alleged use or possession of controlled substances by the defendant. (b) In considering offenses wherein a violation of Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 11350) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code is alleged, the judge or magistrate shall consider the following: (1) the alleged amounts of controlled substances involved in the commission of the offense, and (2) whether the defendant is currently released on bail for an alleged violation of Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 11350) of Division 10 of the Health and Safety Code. (c) Before a court reduces bail below the amount established by the bail schedule approved for the county, in accordance with subdivisions (b) and (c) of Section 1269b, for a person charged with a serious felony, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 1192.7, or a violent felony, as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 667.5, the court shall make a finding of unusual circumstances and shall set forth those facts on the record. For purposes of this subdivision, “unusual circumstances” does not include the fact that the defendant has made all prior court appearances or has not committed any new offenses.
(a) Bail, pursuant to this chapter, shall not be accepted unless a judge or magistrate finds that no portion of the consideration, pledge, security, deposit, or indemnification paid, given, made, or promised for its execution was feloniously obtained. (b) A hold on the release of a defendant from custody shall only be ordered by a magistrate or judge if any of the following occurs: (1) A peace officer, as defined in Section 830, files a declaration executed under penalty of perjury setting forth probable cause to believe that the source of any consideration, pledge, security, deposit, or indemnification paid, given, made, or promised for its execution was feloniously obtained. (2) A prosecutor files a declaration executed under penalty of perjury setting forth probable cause to believe that the source of any consideration, pledge, security, deposit, or indemnification paid, given, made, or promised for its execution was feloniously obtained. A prosecutor shall have absolute civil immunity for executing a declaration pursuant to this paragraph. (3) The magistrate or judge has probable cause to believe that the source of any consideration, pledge, security, deposit, or indemnification paid, given, made, or promised for its execution was feloniously obtained. (c) Once a magistrate or judge has determined that probable cause exists, as provided in subdivision (b), a defendant bears the burden by a preponderance of the evidence to show that no part of any consideration, pledge, security, deposit, or indemnification paid, given, made, or promised for its execution was obtained by felonious means. Once a defendant has met such burden, the magistrate or judge shall release the hold previously ordered and the defendant shall be released under the authorized amount of bail. (d) The defendant and his or her attorney shall be provided with a copy of the declaration of probable cause filed under subdivision (b) no later than the date set forth in Section 825. (e) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a defendant from obtaining a loan of money so long as the loan will be funded and repaid with funds not feloniously obtained. (f) At the request of any person providing any portion of the consideration, pledge, security, deposit, or indemnification paid, given, made, or promised for its execution, the magistrate or judge, at an evidentiary hearing to determine the source of the funds, may close it to the general public to protect the person’s right to privacy in his or her financial affairs. (g) If the declaration, having been filed with a magistrate or judge, is not acted on within 24 hours, the defendant shall be released from custody upon posting of the amount of bail set. (h) Nothing in this code shall deny the right of the defendant, either personally or through his or her attorney, bail agent licensed by the Department of Insurance, admitted surety insurer licensed by the Department of Insurance, friend, or member of his or her family from making an application to the magistrate or judge for the release of the defendant on bail. (i) The bail of any defendant found to have willfully misled the court regarding the source of bail may be increased as a result of the willful misrepresentation. The misrepresentation may be a factor considered in any subsequent bail hearing. (j) If a defendant has met the burden under subdivision (c), and a defendant will be released from custody upon the issuance of a bail bond issued pursuant to authority of Section 1269 or 1269b by any admitted surety insurer or any bail agent, approved by the Insurance Commissioner, the magistrate or judge shall vacate the holding order imposed under subdivision (b) upon the condition that the consideration for the bail bond is approved by the court. (k) As used in this section, “feloniously obtained” means any consideration, pledge, security, deposit, or indemnification paid, given, made, or promised for its execution which is possessed, received, or obtained through an unlawful act, transaction, or occurrence constituting a felony.
(a) A bail bond or undertaking of bail of an admitted surety insurer shall be accepted or approved by a court or magistrate without further acknowledgment if executed by a licensed bail agent of the insurer under penalty of perjury and issued in the name of the insurer by a person authorized to do so by an unrevoked power of attorney on file in the office of the clerk of the county in which the court or magistrate is located. (b) One person may both execute and issue the bail bond or undertaking of bail if qualified as provided in this section.
(a) At the time of an initial application to a bail bond licensee for a bail bond which is to be secured by a lien against real property, the bail bond licensee shall provide the property owner with a written disclosure statement in the following form: “DISCLOSURE OF LIEN AGAINST REAL PROPERTY DO NOT SIGN THIS DOCUMENT UNTIL YOU READ AND UNDERSTAND IT! THIS BAIL BOND WILL BE SECURED BY REAL PROPERTY YOU OWN OR IN WHICH YOU HAVE AN INTEREST. THE FAILURE TO PAY THE BAIL BOND PREMIUMS WHEN DUE OR THE FAILURE OF THE DEFENDANT TO COMPLY WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BAIL COULD RESULT IN THE LOSS OF YOUR PROPERTY!” (b) The disclosure required in subdivision (a) shall be made in 14-point bold type by either of the following means: (1) A separate and specific document attached to or accompanying the application. (2) A clear and conspicuous statement on the face of the application. (c) The property owner shall be given a completed copy of the disclosure statement and of the note and deed of trust or other instrument creating the lien against real property prior to the execution of any instrument creating a lien against real property. The failure to fully comply with subdivision (a) or (b), or this subdivision, shall render the deed of trust or other instrument creating the lien against real property voidable. (d) Within 30 days after notice is given by any individual, agency, or entity to the surety or bail bond licensee of the expiration of the time for appeal of the order exonerating the bail bond, or within 30 days after the payment in full of all moneys owed on the bail bond obligation secured by any lien against real property, whichever is later in time, the bail bond licensee shall deliver to the property owner a fully executed and notarized reconveyance of title, a certificate of discharge, or a full release of any lien against real property to secure performance of the conditions of the bail bond. If a timely notice of appeal of the order exonerating the bail bond is filed with the court, that 30-day period shall begin on the date the determination of the appellate court affirming the order exonerating the bail bond becomes final. Upon the reconveyance, the licensee shall deliver to the property owner the original note and deed of trust, security agreement, or other instrument which secures the bail bond obligation. If the licensee fails to comply with this subdivision, the property owner may petition the superior court to issue an order directing the clerk of the superior court to execute a full reconveyance of title, a certificate of discharge, or a full release of any lien against real property created to secure performance of the conditions of the bail bond. The petition shall be verified and shall allege facts showing that the licensee has failed to comply with this subdivision. (e) The violation of this section shall make the violator liable to the person affected by the violation for all damages which that person may sustain by reason of the violation plus statutory damages in the sum of three hundred dollars ($300). The property owner shall be entitled, if he or she prevails, to recover court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees as determined by the court in any action brought to enforce this section.